c.v. - SELECTED PASSAGES FROM CRITICAL REVIEWS
On playing electric bass, electric guitar, oud, tambura for Linsey Pollak’s 2014 CD Mrs Curly and the Norwegian Smoking Pipe
The compositions are also Pollak's, occasionally in collaboration with Tunji Beier (percussion) and Philip Griffin (assorted strings)… Between them the players provide enormous variation in the textures couching the serpentine melodies, off-metre rhythms and improvisations, and the cumulative charm, beauty and emotional range is an apt match for Pollak's dazzling ingenuity. ☆☆☆☆
John Shand www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/shortlist-album-reviews 6 November 2015
On playing oud, guitar, acting, singing in Creative Development showing of Conversations for Various People, Oct 2015:
THE music theatre company, Various People Inc, has presented some quite outstanding shows in recent years, way out of the ordinary in content, innovative in production, sophisticated in performance.
For her latest venture, director Cheryl Pickering has chosen to show a work in progress.
Named Conversations, the piece tracks people who have been forced out of their homes, persecuted, brutally treated, sometimes murdered. Through their songs and stories as displaced persons, as refugees, as boatpeople, they fill in the gaps, flesh out the statistics, with personal accounts of their agonies from Auschwitz to Australia.
Congratulations, carried with acclamation, to Pickering and her crew for their courage…
…performers (Cheryl) Pickering, Catherine Campbell, Mojgan Khadem, Stephen Sheehan and Philip Griffin an expert on the oud.
Elizabeth Silsbury www.adelaidenow.com.au The Advertiser 25 October 2015
On playing theorbo, Baroque guitar and singing on Chamber Music NZ tour with Affetto, July 2015:
The group known as Affetto may be unique in New Zealand. It is made up of world class baroque specialists who make their magic on authentically built baroque instruments, and who design and deliver their concerts as a thoroughly professional collective.
Through their perfectly managed and meticulously prepared performances they deliver a musical milieu which is unique, accessible, and exciting.
They played with such éclat, and vigour, and communicated such drama, such feeling, that this audience will remember tonight for a very long time.
… the theorbo player extraordinaire who was even taller than his giant lute, but as comfortable on the diminutive baroque guitar as he was singing a stunning duet with Tankersley.
What extraordinary musicians. What wonderful music. Here, truly, be sheer delight.
Sam Edwards www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/70288390/review-affetto-share-music-magic-in-the-waikato 16 July 2015
…Henry Eccles' Drunken Dialogue (sung as a riotous duet with Philip Griffin)
…[the Affetto musicians] brought their innate grace, charm and vigour…
Peter Mechen middle-c.org/2015/07/wit-theatricality-and-food-for-thought-from-affetto-in-lower-hutt/ 8 July2015
On playing theorbo and singing with Affetto, February 2015:
…matched by Philip Griffin's masterful performance on the Theorbo.
Other highlights from the evening include a spirited rendition of Eccles Drunken Dialogue between Tankersley and Griffin [singing].
Dione Joseph www.theatreview.org.nz/reviews/printreview.php?id=7850 1 Mar 2015
On playing theorbo (“lute” in review)with Pipers Sinfonia for Auckland Choral at Auckland Town Hall in Handel’s Messiah:
Pipers Sinfonia provided spirited accompaniment and the sharing of continuo duties between two organs, harpsichord and lute was beautifully done.
William Dart New Zealand Herald 17 December 2014
On playing theorbo, baroque and modern guitars, oud, percussion and singing with Affetto, Hamilton, September 2014:
At one stage in my notes, I wrote, "Suddenly, I am in the presence of great beauty… measured elegance… sensuous intimacy…" all of which came from instruments which were plucked, struck, bowed and blown to offer a soundscape unlike any other. It was made possible by the virtuosity of musicians ranging from Philip Griffin who played, sang, and made the giant theorbo sing as well, to soprano Jayne Tankersley whose voice is the ultimate baroque instrument and whose pianissimo, melancholic, utterly pure final note in the heartrending Flow My Tears [accompanied by Philip Griffin on modern guitar] was mesmerising.
Sam Edwards Waikato Times 11 September 2014
On performance as Howard Wise in World Premiere of Len Lye the opera (Eve de Castro-Robinson) 2012:
Towards the end of the work, tenor Philip Griffin brings a moment of humanly relatable pathos as Lye’s sympathetic but pragmatic New York art dealer, who finally has to take Lye off the books.
Robbie Ellis http://www.theatreview.org.nz/ (NZ professional theatre & dance: reviews, news and your views) 6 September 2012
On performance by The Pocket Score Company of Homecoming 1997:
“… followed by madrigals by Marenzio and Morley, all eclipsed by the performance of the powerful setting of Bruce Dawe’s poem Homecoming by Philip Griffin. Griffin’s score magnifies the sharp edge to Dawe’s words while maintaining the poignancy of these young, modern soldiers brought home, ‘too late, too early’ in winged hearses, the howling jet engines representing contemporary keening. Paul Eldon’s fluid tenor voice worked well here and David Mackay’s voice delivered the last line gracefully and hauntingly.”
Jennifer Gall The Canberra Times 9 June 2011
On singing tenor solos in Messiah (Handel) 2005:
“The tenor solos were splendidly sung by Philip Griffin. His voice is richly sonorous, and he displayed fine musicianship in a polished performance of his demanding pieces.”
Peter Tillett Fleurieu Life, The Times 15 December 2005
On composition for Vigil Bluetongue Theatre 2005:
“…complemented by… original, recorded music that is quite moving.”
Sue Oldknow Portside Messenger 17 August 2005
“…lovely score that very effectively punctuates the many short scenes.”
Ms Fit What’s on in Adelaide - essentialadelaide.blog.com
On arrangement and music direction for The Government Inspector State Theatre Company of South Australia 2005:
“Visually and aurally an outrageous delight, from spectacularly vulgar costumes and sets to peculiar rap music on balalaika and squeeze box…”
Russell Starke Weekly Times Messenger 9 March 2005
On composition and music direction for Euripides’ Trojan Women State Theatre Company of South Australia 2004:
“The women’s chorus… under the direction of composer and music director Philip Griffin, works to powerful effect as the beaten, bereaved, captive and abused women of Troy chant their woes, sing their laments and curse the enemies and the gods…
…the real star of the production is the music composed for it by Griffin with Ross Daly, an expert in the various non-Western instruments that dominate, quite beautifully, the soundscape of the play.
The performance of this haunting, hybrid music, both instrumental and choral, becomes an integral part of the set and of the script.
The play is worth seeing for the music and the chorus…”
Kerryn Goldsworthy Eastern Courier Messenger 24 November 2004
On music and sound design for Death of a Salesman State Theatre Company of South Australia 2004:
“…sound by Philip Griffin was evocative and appropriate.”
Russell Starke News-Review Messenger 4 August 2004
“From Cath Cantlon’s multi-level caged set to Philip Griffin’s intriguing score… every aspect of this production gels.”
Matt Byrne Sunday Mail 8 August 2004
On laouto and electric guitar playing on the CD by Xenos - Çirikli
Listening to Balkan music, you sometimes have to go as far as Australia. A lot of immigrants went down under taking their music with them, but Melbourne's Xenos band has no Balkan or Roma roots… But I wonder if you would recognize the difference to the original. No, this is the pure drop though. Trance-like Gypsy songs and round dances from the Balkan, Greece and Romania, enigmatic and entrancing.
Tom Keller a.k.a. Walkin' T:-)M www.folkworld.de/30/e/cds3.html 2004
On music and sound design for The Crucible State Theatre Company of South Australia 2003:
“…eerily enhanced by subtle music and sound from Philip Griffin, the production has an edge of danger that is spellbinding.”
Stephen House Guardian Messenger 19 March 2003
On playing Balkan and Middle Eastern lutes with Ross Daly and Friends:
“Philip Griffin’s nimble fingers on the tambura were never less than the perfect accompaniment, so I loved it when he had a chance for a more prominent part in the last piece of the night.”
Ben Eltham The Courier-Mail 3 March 2003 reviewing the concert at QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, 27 February 2003.
“Griffin was equally impressive on the lute-like laouto, oud and tambura, forming a rhythm section with the consistently engrossing and intricate hand-drumming of Beier..... Those who missed this will have to settle for their splendid album, Kin Kin.”
John Shand The Sydney Morning Herald 19 March 2003 reviewing the concert at Paddington Uniting Church, Sydney, 13 March 2003.
(“This was some of the finest music heard in Sydney for years.” John Shand-SMH)
On electric guitar playing on the CD by Xenos - Tutti Frutti (a finalist in the 2001 ARIA awards in the World Music category):
“A special mention should go to Philip Griffin, who is the only non-local (i.e. non-Balkan) guitarist I have ever heard to have grasped the intricate mix of twang and strum that drives the song and dance along.”
Kim Burton Songlines Winter 2001
“It's like I'm listening to an authentic Romanian or Macedonian band. They are backed by a great band including Gaida, percussion, saxophone, electric guitar and many other instruments. Xenos managed to record a convincing cd with strong vocals and energetic music. I still do not believe that their from Australia. The vocals are just to authentic and the musicians seem to know what their doing. The best Balkan cd from outside the Balkan I can think of!”
Eelco Schilder www.folkworld.de/24/e/cds2.html 2001
On composition for Antony and Cleopatra The Australian People’s Theatre 1993:
“Best is Philip Griffin’s music and Kym Barrett’s design. ...a real help in guiding us through the convolutions of this marvellous story. So is Griffin’s music, through which the battles and much else are performed on some splendidly bizarre instruments he has designed himself, including a great drum array and a piano standing on its side so the performers can scrape and play on the exposed strings.”
John McCallum The Australian 7 May 1993
On composition for Karagiozis Down Under 1992:
“What appealed to me most, however, was the music, written by West Australian Philip Griffin.”
Eleni Nika (translated by Thomas Papathanassiou) Neos Kosmos 13 February 1992
On The Voyage of Vasco Pyjama 1991:
“... and some inspired musical numbers by Philip Griffin...”
Alison Farmer The Australian 14 October 1991
“Multi-talented Philip Griffin is the musical director...”
David Hough The Bulletin 5 November 1991
On composition for A Dream of People Royal Shakespeare Company 1990:
“...and the music - unaccompanied Spanish guitar - is unexpected and witty.”
John Morrish Time Out 8 August 1990
On conducting BMus graduation recital, Western Australian Conservatorium of Music 1988:
“Notably in the first movement, Philip Griffin (who is, incidentally, the first Conservatorium BMus graduate in conducting) coaxed a lively and committed response from the Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra and, throughout the evening, in fact, directed events with considerable understanding of the soloists’ musical requirements.”
Neville Cohn The Sunday Times 27 November 1988
On singing the roles of Pilato and Petrus in Passio secundum Joannem (Bach) 1988:
“Philip Griffin impressed with his singing of Pilate and Peter. He has developed a particularly even vocal technique which should hold him in good stead for the future.”
Alan True Music Maker May/June 1988
On performance in the title role of Gianni Schicchi (Puccini) 1988:
“Philip Griffin as Gianni Schicchi gave an excellent performance in which he displayed vocal and acting skills...”
Anne Hodgson The West Australian 14 October 1988
“Philip Griffin was a dashing, albeit youthful, Gianni Schicchi. ...he played it with the panache it required, leading the rest of the cast a merry chase.”
Alan True Opera Australia December 1988
On composition for Three Balkan Songs as performed by I Cantori 1986:
“The evening finished with three charming settings of Balkan songs by the conductor. Griffin exploited complex rhythms and progressively more abrasive harmonies to weave colourful sound pictures. The singers coasted through these arrangements which are certainly worth another airing.”
Alan True Music Maker January/February 1987